1. Travel and related expenses are to be approved by the Board in advance of the travel.
2. Requests for travel by Board Members shall be placed on a Board meeting agenda, discussed in open session and approved by a majority vote of the Members of the Board present and voting. The meeting minutes shall reflect the Board’s action and the extent of the authorization.
3. The nature of the travel, its purpose and estimated cost shall be outlined on a Travel Authorization Form. The form must include a statement by the traveler, certifying that the expenses were incidental to the approved travel. Brochures for seminars or other presentations will accompany the request for travel where available.
4. A statement by the traveler describing the presentation, conference or seminar should be entered into the minutes of the meeting following the travel.
Required Documentation for Reimbursement
1. Any request for reimbursement should be completed within 30 days of incurring the expenses and properly approved before reimbursement takes place.
2. Original itemized receipts must be submitted for all expenses including transportation, lodging, and other expenses incidental to travel.
3. Receipts will be required for individual expenses over $10. Travel-related expenses that are under $10 (such as gratuities) should be fully described and reimbursed based on the traveler’s certification that the expenses were necessary and incidental to the approved travel.
4. Any travel-related expenditures which have not been properly documented or approved or are not in conformity with the Board’s regulations must be rejected or adjusted.
5. Reimbursement will only be made to the person who actually made payment to the expense.
6. The Reimbursement Request Form must be signed by the person seeking reimbursement and signed under the pains and penalties of perjury.
The Board designates the Board Administrator responsible for making all travel arrangements and for assisting Board Members in completing authorization and reimbursement forms. When making travel arrangements, government rates or business rates will be secured. An extended stay may be authorized if the net cost to the Board will be lower.
The Board will allow for airline, train, bus, automobile rental, taxi, or other form of public conveyance (as cost effective) to be utilized. All travel should be at the lowest fare available, generally economy coach fare. The Board prohibits payment for airline club memberships.
The Board requires that the source of rental cars be a national rental agency. The Board Administrator will negotiate the rental rate for only mid-sized class of vehicle for rental. It will be the traveler’s responsibility to verify that the rate charged is the rate negotiated. The traveler must accept optional insurance coverage for any rental vehicle.
The Board requires that any motor vehicle accidents which occur while using a rental car, while on Board-approved travel be reported as soon as practicable, in writing to the appropriate authorities, with copies of all such reports provided to the Board.
The Board prohibits reimbursement for fines or other expensed incurred as a result of traffic violations while on Board-approved travel. The traveler is personally responsible for such expenses.
The Board will allow reimbursement for use of personal motor vehicles when such usage is cost effective. The per-mile expense rate allowed will conform to the amount allowed by the Internal Revenue Service. Other reimbursed expenses will include parking fees and toll charges.
The Board requires that all reservations for accommodations will be made in advance by the Board Administrator. The traveler must accept responsibility in verifying that the rate charged is the rate negotiated by the Board Administrator. The Board will authorize reimbursement for only reasonable class accommodations.
The Board will authorize $50 as the maximum daily amount for the cost of meals while on Board authorized travel. If reimbursement is requested for meal expenses for others, these individuals must identified along with their affiliation and a description of the purpose of the meeting.
In any circumstances under which the registration fees for a conference or seminar includes lodging and meals, the Board will prohibit reimbursement for lodging or meals otherwise included in the cost of the registration.
Other Reimbursable and Non-Reimbursable Expenses
With proper supporting receipts, the Board may reimburse the following travel-related expenses: gratuities, telephone expenses limited to Board or business related calls and one personal call per day, internet connections charges, costs for faxing, and costs for necessary copying.
The Board will not reimburse the travelers for any of the following personal expenses: in-room movies, mini-bar charges, gym fees, entertainment or recreational expenses, laundry and dry cleaning and any payments for personal services. The Board will prohibit reimbursement for alcoholic beverages.
The Board prohibits cash advances in connection with anticipated expenses.
Board Credit Cards
The Board prohibits any issuance of credit cards issued to the Board.
Personal Travel Combined with Board Related Travel
If personal travel is combined with Board related travel, the personal portion of the trip must be clearly identified and paid for by the traveler. Travel expenses or any other expenses incurred by a spouse, relative, friend or other individual accompanying a Board Member or Board staff member will be considered to be personal travel and will, in no event, be a proper expense of the Fitchburg Retirement Board.
Payments or Reimbursements for Expenses by Third Parties
The Board prohibits the providing to or receipt by a Board Member or staff member of anything of substantial value from any person, firm, partnership or other entity which may be reasonably expected to seek to do business with or is seeking to do business with or presently is doing business with the Board or any person, firm or other entity that solicits or makes referrals or which may be reasonably expected to solicit or make referrals of any client on behalf of such a person, firm, partnership or other entity. The Board prohibits the providing to and the receipt of anything of substantial value from such a person, firm, partnership or other entity indirectly through any person, firm, association, organization or other entity.
In instances where a Board Member or Board staff member participates in a legitimate speaking engagement, the Board shall pay all costs and expenses related to such speaking engagement, provided, that the Board Member or Board staff member complies with all of the travel regulations. The Board may accept reimbursement for such travel- related expenses of a Board Member or a member of the Board’s staff from the third party, only under the following limited circumstances:
A Board Member or a member of a Board’s staff may participate in legitimate speaking engagements in connection with their positions on the Retirement Board or as a member of the Board’s staff and the Board may accept reimbursements from third parties necessary to cover travel-related costs for such engagements.
Acceptance of an honorarium or any other form of compensation is strictly prohibited.To be considered a legitimate speaking engagement, the presentation must be formally scheduled on the agenda of a convention or conference.
The speaking engagement must be scheduled in advance of the Board Member’s or staff member’s arrival at the event.
The presentation must be before an organization that would normally have outside speakers address them at such an event.
The presentation cannot be perfunctory, but should significantly contribute to the event, taking onto account such factors as the length of the speech or presentation, the size of the audience, and the extent to which the speaker is providing substantive or unique information or viewpoints.
The Board can be reimbursed by a third party for expenses only to the extent necessary for making the speech or presentation.
Under no circumstances can a Board Member or Board staff member receive reimbursement or any other payment or compensation from a third party.
Violation of These Guidelines or Board Travel Regulations
The Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) will review all circumstances pertaining to travel in accordance with the provisions of these Guidelines.
Any person or entity that violates these Board regulations approved by PERAC shall be deemed to have violated the provisions of 840 CMR 17.00 and shall be subject to removal as a qualified investment manager or consultant pursuant to 840 CMR 17.04(10). In addition, PERAC shall not grant an exemption pursuant to 840 CMR 19.02 or a qualification pursuant to 840 CMR 26.04 if any person or entity that has violated these Board regulations adopted pursuant to these PERAC Guidelines is the subject of the filing pursuant to those provisions.